The zinc fingers and homeoboxes 2 protein ZHX2 and its interacting proteins regulate upstream pathways in podocyte diseases

Academic Article


  • © 2019 International Society of Nephrology Zinc fingers and homeoboxes (ZHX) proteins are heterodimeric transcriptional factors largely expressed at the cell membrane in podocytes in vivo. We found ZHX2-based heterodimers in podocytes, with ZHX2-ZHX1 predominantly at the cell membrane of the podocyte cell body, and ZHX2-ZHX3 at the slit diaphragm. In addition to changes in overall ZHX2 expression, there was increased podocyte nuclear ZHX3 and ZHX2 in patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, and increased podocyte nuclear ZHX1 in patients with minimal change disease. Zhx2 deficient mice had increased podocyte ZHX1 and ZHX3 expression. Zhx2 deficient mice and podocyte specific Zhx2 overexpressing transgenic rats develop worse experimental focal segmental glomerulosclerosis than controls, with increased nuclear ZHX3 and ZHX2, respectively. By contrast, podocyte specific Zhx2 overexpressing transgenic rats develop lesser proteinuria during experimental minimal change disease due to peripheral sequestration of ZHX1 by ZHX2. Using co-immunoprecipitation, the interaction of ZHX2 with aminopeptidase A in the podocyte body cell membrane, and EPHRIN B1 in the slit diaphragm were noted to be central to upstream events in animal models of minimal change disease and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, respectively. Mice deficient in Enpep, the gene for aminopeptidase A, and Efnb1, the gene for ephrin B1 developed worse albuminuria in glomerular disease models. Targeting aminopeptidase A in Zhx2 deficient mice with monoclonal antibodies induced albuminuria and upregulation of the minimal change disease mediator angiopoietin-like 4 through nuclear entry of ZHX1. Thus, podocyte ZHX2 imbalance is a critical factor in human glomerular disease, with minimal change disease disparities mediated mostly through ZHX1, and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis deviations through ZHX3 and ZHX2.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 2453606
  • Author List

  • Macé C; Del Nogal Avila M; Marshall CB; Kharlyngdoh J; Das R; Molina-Jijon E; Donoro Blazquez H; Shastry S; Soria E; Wetzels J
  • Start Page

  • 753
  • End Page

  • 764
  • Volume

  • 97
  • Issue

  • 4